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Miguel Gonzalez came up big at times for the Orioles (plus minor league promotions info)

When the Orioles ended a run of 14 straight losing seasons and returned to the playoffs in 2012, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez went 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA. He then pitched a gem against the Yankees in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, but the O’s lost in extra innings. When the Orioles won 96 games and took the American League East in 2014,

Notes on Hyun Soo Kim and Miguel Gonzalez, plus a look around the AL East

Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez pitched well. Matt Wieters was back behind the plate. And we found out officially that outfielder Hyun Soo Kim will not be on the Orioles’ opening day roster. Some clarity emerged last night as the Orioles spent one of their last days in Florida. Gonzalez is far from alone here, but he has given some fans reasons to be concerned about

A few pitching notes and Bowie’s championship celebration

So who was the last Orioles pitcher before Chris Tillman to make the start on opening day? It was Jason Hammel, who got the starting assignment in 2013. It was announced Monday that Tillman will make his third straight opening day start on Monday afternoon at home against the Minnesota Twins. Tillman is 1-0 with an ERA of 1.54 on opening day the past two

Sizing up spring: Some things have gone well, some not as well

The Orioles are now down to just five spring training games remaining. They have four in Florida and the last one in Philadelphia on Friday night. Opening day is April 4 at home against Minnesota. So with the spring almost over here is a look at a few bright spots and a few concerns: Hardy looks healthy: When J.J. Hardy homered in three straight games

The MLB Network analysts size up the Orioles

When MLB Network made its annual trek to the Orioles spring training camp, the analysts verbalized a familiar theme - the O’s have plenty of offense, but will the starting pitching hold up? The Orioles were featured on the network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days” segment last night. Former player and current network analyst Mark DeRosa interviewed some players in Sarasota, Fla., and came away

Notes on James Shields, minor league releases and Joey Rickard’s walk-heavy night

According to a report from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Orioles have been in touch with the San Diego Padres to inquire about right-handed starting pitcher James Shields. On the surface, this makes sense with Kevin Gausman’s recent shoulder issue and the rotation’s generally shaky overall pitching this spring. But then you have to consider that Shields is 34, owed at least $65 million through

A look at the O’s rotation and left field outlook

Here is a good question about the Orioles’ starting rotation: How many jobs are available to be won right now? Are there two, one or none? For a while, and it still may hold true, Miguel Gonzalez’s spot was shaky with his spring struggles. That meant pitchers like Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne and Vance Worley could be chasing one potential rotation opening. Then

After tough pro debut, DJ Stewart is determined to use his new stance to improve

After a high school career in Jacksonville, Fla., where he played on five state championship teams, and a decorated college career at Florida State, DJ Stewart finally played baseball but did not have consistent success last summer. The Orioles’ first-round draft pick last June, taken 25th overall, Stewart hit just .218 in 62 games at short-season Single-A Aberdeen in 2015 with six homers, 24 RBIs

Notes on Hunter Harvey, Dylan Bundy and future free agents (updated)

He has not pitched in a minor league game since July 25, 2014. But after a 2015 season where he dealt with an injury setback or two, Orioles 2013 first-round pick Hunter Harvey is hopeful for full health in 2016. The 21-year-old right-hander has missed time due to a strained right flexor mass in addition to a shin injury that happened when he was hit

Starting over: Jason Garcia will try to make his way back to the majors from Bowie’s rotation

It was during instructional league play in the fall of 2014. A right-hander for the Boston Red Sox organization pitched a couple of times against the Orioles. He faced 18 hitters and struck out 14 of them. His fastball looked impressive and overpowering, and his hit list included Chance Sisco, Christian Walker and Chris Davis. A few months later the Orioles would acquire that right-hander.

Mark Trumbo: “Sometimes it’s not the home run swing that is best suited for the job”

SARASOTA, Fla. - No doubt the Orioles have a power-packed lineup. They’ve hit 200 or more homers four straight years and that streak should grow to five this season. But the homers won’t always be there and some nights the team will have to manufacture runs. One player who agrees with this assessment is one of the club’s power hitters, new Oriole Mark Trumbo. He

For Mychal Givens, elevating a pitch is not always a bad thing

SARASOTA, Fla. - While we often hear pitchers say they need to pitch down in the zone, Orioles reliever Mychal Givens is the latest pitcher to tell me he is working on pitching up the zone. Maybe calling it an Orioles’ philosophy is too strong, but clearly we’ve seen pitchers like Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen have success in the past at times changing hitters’

The pitching takes a turn for the better (plus other notes)

SARASOTA, Fla. - If we could survey the collective pulse of Birdland this morning, it is probably beating at a normal pace right now. Nothing that a few wins and a few good pitching performances couldn’t help. When the Orioles started their spring training schedule 0-10-2, they allowed 87 runs and some of the fans were getting nervous. Some were very nervous. Now, after a

Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, Dylan Bundy is throwing well at O’s camp

SARASOTA, Fla. - For young Dylan Bundy, it’s go time. It’s time to begin his major league career. Sure he pitched in two games in 2012 for the Orioles, but now it’s time to really get things started. Out of options and coming off elbow and shoulder injuries, Bundy and the team have their fingers crossed that the talented 23-year-old right-hander can both stay healthy

Wrapping up the Orioles’ 11-2 win over the Yankees

TAMPA - Well, this worked out pretty well for the Orioles. Miguel Gonzalez had a solid outing. The middle of their order combined for eight RBIs. The Orioles hammed the Yankees 11-2 in their home park. Gonzalez, who entered with an ERA of 22.24, gave up just four hits and two runs over four innings. It was his longest spring outing and probably his best

Miguel Gonzalez talks about his outing against the Yankees (O’s win 11-2)

ORIOLES QUICK WRAPScore: Orioles 11, Yankees 2 Recap: Earl Weaver would like the Orioles in recent spring training games. They are hitting their share of three-run homers. Mark Trumbo hit one in the first tonight, his second of the spring. He had a four-RBI game. Manny Machado added three hits and four RBIs as the duo, batting third and fourth, combined for eight RBIs. Miguel

Trumbo homers, Miguel Gonzalez has solid outing against New York (O’s lead 11-2)

TAMPA - The Orioles struck quickly tonight against New York left-hander CC Sabathia. Mark Trumbo, batting fourth, hit a three-run homer to give the O’s a 4-0 lead in the opening inning. The first four batters reached. Joey Rickard doubled to left off the glove of third baseman Rob Refsnyder, then Jonathan Schoop hit a grounder to short. Didi Gregorius tried to get Rickard running

Pregame notes on Matt Wieters, Jeff Beliveau, Miguel Gonzalez and more

TAMPA - It was a small step, but a step nonetheless for Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. “He swung the bat some today,” manager Buck Showalter said this afternoon at Steinbrenner Field. “When I was walking through the hall (in Sarasota), he came back in and had a sweat going.” Showalter didn’t see Wieters take those swings and later checked to let reporters know that he

Taking nothing for granted, Jonathan Schoop keeps working to get better

SARASOTA, Fla. - It seems there is one person here who is not convinced that Jonathan Schoop will make the Orioles’ opening day roster. It’s Jonathan Schoop. He said he has not changed his spring approach a bit and is playing in the Florida sun as if he’s competing for an opening day job. “I don’t know if I’m a regular,” Schoop said this week.

Notes on Tyler Wilson, Brad Brach and Christian Walker

SARASOTA, Fla. - If we were giving trending grades right now for some Orioles starting pitchers, 26-year-old right-hander Tyler Wilson would get a thumbs up. His stock has been rising in the Florida sun. With the Orioles rotation not exactly setting the world on fire in the Grapefruit League, Wilson drew heavy praise from his manager when he pitched in relief Tuesday in Dunedin. Against

Wrapping up the Orioles’ 9-5 loss to Boston

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Manager Buck Showalter saw from the dugout what pitcher Vance Worley saw when he was on the mound today: a pitcher that hit many of his spots and kept the ball down. But still Worley allowed a three-run homer and gave up eight hits and six runs (four earned) in 3 1/3 this afternoon as Boston beat the Orioles 9-5. So

Vance Worley was upbeat about his outing against Boston (O’s fall to Red Sox)

ORIOLES QUICK WRAPScore: Red Sox 9, Orioles 5Recap: Christian Walker and Joey Rickard continue to hit and push for opening day jobs with the Orioles. Walker unloaded a long three-run homer off lefty Henry Owens in the second. He has four homers and 14 RBIs and began today slugging .815. Rickard went 2-for-3 with a single and double and is batting .342. Paul Janish, hitting

Christian Walker unloads his fourth homer as O’s face Red Sox (Boston leads 6-4)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Play him at first base or left field, but just play him. That is the message Orioles prospect Christian Walker seems to be sending these days. He hit another long homer this afternoon as the O’s took the lead on Boston. Down 3-1 in the third against Red Sox lefty Henry Owens, Joey Rickard walked and so did Nolan Reimold. Then

Showalter on Wieters, Hardy and more pregame in Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter continues to be encouraged about catcher Matt Wieters and his return from a sore right elbow. He expects him to be ready for opening day. He just doesn’t have a timetable yet for Wieters to get in another spring training game. “Now that he has most of the discomfort out of there,” Showalter said. “Now he goes

Britton’s classy comments at minor league camp; Graham updates Reyes and Harvey

SARASOTA, Fla. - He shook a lot of hands and exchanged a few hugs. He wasn’t doing that because he’s running for office. He was just renewing friendships. Orioles lefty Zach Britton was a big leaguer only in name yesterday when he pitched in a Single-A game and threw two pretty dominant scoreless innings against some Minnesota Twins youngsters. After he pitched, Britton was in

Zach Britton talks about his outing and other notes from Twin Lakes Park

SARASOTA, Fla. - The few fans that were on hand today for the Orioles’ minor league games got to see a rare sight. Not only did All-Star closer Zach Britton pitch in a Single-A game, but he stayed on the mound longer than he does for most of his save situations. Pitching for Single-A Frederick, Britton was the starting pitcher and buzzed through several Minnesota

Some notes from Twin Lakes Park, where minor league games start today

SARASOTA, Fla. - Today is the first day of spring training games for the Orioles’ four full-season minor league teams. The Orioles’ Triple-A and Double-A teams are on the road in Fort Myers against the Minnesota Twins. The O’s two Single-A clubs are playing the Twins here at the Buck O’Neil Baseball Complex at Twin Lakes Park at noon. Today’s scheduled starting pitchers include the

More starting rotation talk

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez has a spring training ERA of 9.45. That ranks second best so far among the five projected starters for the Orioles’ 2016 rotation: 0.00 - Kevin Gausman 9.45 - Jimenez 10.80 - Chris Tillman 16.62 - Yovani Gallardo 22.24 - Miguel Gonzalez As manager Buck Showalter noted yesterday, and plenty of others have noted often, the rotation is

Showalter on rotation: “There is some competition there”

DUNEDIN, Fla. - With a few Orioles pitchers not getting the results they want so far this spring, the competition for the Orioles’ starting rotation might be more open than it appeared to be. While Chris Tillman made his first Grapefruit League start today, his spot in the starting five seems secure. But Miguel Gonzalez has struggled and Tyler Wilson, pitching in relief today, stated

Chris Tillman talks about his first spring training start (O’s, Jays tie 6-6)

ORIOLES QUICK WRAP Score: Orioles 6, Blue Jays 6 Recap: An O’s starting pitcher allowed at least one first-inning run for the 12th time in 16 games. Chris Tillman, making his first Grapefruit League start, allowed two runs and five hits in 1 2/3. He gave up both runs in the first. Jonathan Schoop and Pedro Alvarez had RBI singles for the Orioles. Schoop and

Showalter on Walker, Wieters, Kim and more (O’s trail 2-1)

DUNEDIN, Fla. - It sure seems like Orioles pitchers give up a lot of first-inning runs this spring, and Chris Tillman allowed two today in his first spring training game. The Orioles were down 2-1 after the first inning. Tillman allowed a leadoff double to Toronto’s Kevin Pillar, and one out later, he scored on a Jose Bautista single. Chris Colabello added an RBI single

Christian Walker on playing outfield and opposite-field power (plus other notes)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Since first baseman Chris Davis re-signed with the Orioles, first baseman Christian Walker has gotten the question a few times. Will Walker be asked to play some outfield this year when he likely heads to Triple-A Norfolk. He said the topic has at least come up recently. “Possibly,” Walker said. “Until now, that is pretty much what it is, just a conversation.

Yovani Gallardo on his start today, the pitching staff struggles and more

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles fans see the pitching numbers and have expressed concern. The O’s staff entered today with a spring ERA of 7.28, the worst in the major leagues. New O’s starter Yovani Gallardo had a rocky outing this afternoon. At humid Ed Smith Stadium, he allowed four hits and five runs and gave up three homers in 2 1/3 innings against the

Hunter Harvey talks about his Sunday outing, provides health update

SARASOTA, Fla. - In his brief pro career, and certainly as an amateur pitcher, right-hander Hunter Harvey must not have had too many days like Sunday. Pitching in Fort Myers against the Minnesota Twins, the 21-year-old right-hander allowed three hits, two walks, threw a wild pitch and gave up five runs in just 1/3 of an inning. Two runs scored after Jason Garcia replaced him.

Is it too soon for concern over Miguel Gonzalez? (plus other notes)

SARASOTA, Fla. - A few quotes and notes about the Orioles, who are 1-11-2 with 19 spring games remaining before opening day. They lost 14-5 to Minnesota yesterday, allowing 10 or more runs for the fifth time. * At this point, you have to wonder if the Orioles are concerned about right-hander Miguel Gonzalez. After pitching to an ERA of 6.14 in 10 starts after

Showalter and Alvarez comments, plus other notes after O’s loss to Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. - During a game that took 3 hours, 19 minutes, where his team allowed runs in five different innings, Orioles manager Buck Showalter saw some good and not so good today. On a plus note, Pedro Alvarez played for the first time as an Oriole. He crushed a 1-1 pitch in the top of the first for an RBI double during a

Miguel Gonzalez talks about his outing against Minnesota (O’s lose 14-5)

ORIOLES QUICK WRAP Score: Twins 14, Orioles 5 Recap: Pedro Alvarez ripped an RBI double in his first O’s at-bat in the top of the first. It came on a 1-1 pitch from Ricky Nolasco. Alvarez also grounded out and flied out in his first O’s game. Miguel Gonzalez struggled again, allowing six runs and seven hits over 1 2/3. He has allowed 14 runs

Pedro Alvarez rips an RBI double in first Orioles at-bat (O’s trail 6-3)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - There will be no prolonged hitless streak for new Oriole Pedro Alvarez. He crushed a 1-1 pitch off the right-center field fence for an RBI double in the first inning here today against the Twins. Alvarez smoked the offering from Minnesota right-hander Ricky Nolasco to provide the Orioles a 1-0 lead during their three-run first inning at Hammond Stadium. Joey Rickard

Showalter on Wieters and Alvarez, plus pregame notes from Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Orioles catcher Matt Wieters might have a sore right elbow, but for now it appears the concern level is low. Before today’s game here, manager Buck Showalter said no MRI for Wieters is planned yet. Wieters spoke with reporters about his elbow in Sarasota. “There is a reason an MRI is not scheduled at this point,” Showalter said. “If the next

A look at the Orioles’ top 30 prospects per Baseball America

SARASOTA, Fla. - Earlier here we discussed the Orioles’ top 10 ranked prospects, according to Baseball America. Here is the previous story and another look at the top 10: 1) Dylan Bundy 2) Hunter Harvey 3) Chance Sisco 4) Jomar Reyes 5) Mychal Givens 6) Chris Lee 7) Ryan Mountcastle 8) Trey Mancini 9) D.J. Stewart 10) Mike Wright According to the Baseball American Prospect

A few notes on wins and losses, MVP odds, Pedro Alvarez and more

A few more notes and thoughts on the Orioles - and, yes, we are still waiting for the first spring training win. * After Friday’s 7-1 loss to the Yankees, the Orioles are 0-10-2. According to STATS, the last team with a longer winless streak to start spring training was the 2009 Astros at 0-16-3. That Houston team went 74-88. After Thursday’s loss left the

A few notes on home runs, exit velocity, Tanner Scott and more

A few notes and random thoughts on the Orioles while we await that first spring win: * I’m not sure exactly what to make of this stat, but the Orioles homered in the same exact number of games both in 2014 and 2015. But they won a higher percentage of those games both with and without homers in 2014 on their way to the American

Can the Orioles offense be productive with a high strikeout total?

Strikeouts can frustrate fans. The batter failed to put the ball in play and if you can do that, at least you have a chance to get a hit. Even mishit balls like bloops can fall in for basehits. But not much good can come from a strikeout. Since 2012, the Orioles have ranked among the top five teams in the American League in batter

Talking home runs and spring training records

Now that the Orioles have acquired this power-packed lineup, just how many home runs might the 2016 Orioles mash? Can they set records? With power throughout the lineup and with a team playing in a hitter friendly ballpark, another 200-homer season seems very likely. Starting with 2012, the Orioles have hit 214, 212, 211 and 217 homers. They have ranked in the top three in

A few notes and stats after the Orioles’ agreement with Pedro Alvarez

In a recent entry here, I wrote that the Orioles could field a lineup this year with five players that have hit 30 or more homers in one season in the major leaguers. Change that number to six. The Orioles agreed to terms with Pedro Alvarez last night on a one-year deal, pending a physical. Here are career-high homers totals for six Orioles, adding Alvarez:

Showing premium velocity, lefty Tanner Scott has quickly moved up the prospect ranks

Around this time last year, left-hander Tanner Scott headed to Orioles minor league camp as a little-known reliever coming off hand surgery. A year later, he could be a pitcher on a fast track after throwing well last season and in the Arizona Fall League, with a fastball that has reached triple digits. The 21-year-old Scott is not flying under the radar anymore. Perhaps he

Spring training edition: 10 questions for O’s fans

So far in spring training the Orioles have lost a few games, had a few injuries and have seen a few shaky pitching performances. No need for major concern yet, not over a few exhibition games. But not everyone agrees, including the fan that tweeted this to me yesterday: “If there are any pitchers available who can win at a major league level, baltimore needs

David Hess made gains with his secondary pitches last year (plus other notes)

Orioles pitching prospect David Hess, a 22-year-old right-hander, will be interesting to watch this year. Can he carry over his great finish to 2015 to the 2016 season? Hess was struggling early last year at Single-A Frederick, but then he got on a tremendous roll. That led to a late-season promotion to Double-A Bowie where he pitched two big games in the playoffs for the

Is Manny Machado up next for a long-term contract?

When many or probably pretty much all Orioles fans think about third baseman Manny Machado, eventually two questions likely come to mind: Will the club be able to sign him to a long-term deal and how much will it cost? At 23, he already has won two Gold Glove Awards, one Platinum Glove and made two All-Star teams. In 2013, he finished ninth for the

Chris Lee on delivery tweaks, his velocity gain and more, plus other notes

For Orioles left-handed pitching prospect Chris Lee, a trade from the Houston Astros to Baltimore last May has really advanced his career. With Houston, he pitched in rookie ball three straight seasons, from 2011-2013, and was in low Single-A ball all during the 2014 season and was back at that level to start last season. But the Orioles then acquired him May 18 for two

A look at the Orioles’ minor league spring training roster and schedule

Here is the lengthy list of players who will be reporting to the Orioles’ minor league spring training camp later this week in Sarasota, Fla. Pitchers and catchers report this Friday, March 4, while the position players report date is Tuesday, March 8 at the Buck O’Neil Complex at Twin Lakes Park. Just like at major league camp, many players are already at this camp,

A look at the debate over qualifying offers

The qualifying offer is sure to come up during labor negotiations this year as the players and owners work on a new collective bargaining agreement. Some believe the system is broken, but I do not agree. This year, teams extended 20 players qualifying offers, which meant those players could re-sign with their club and take the one year offer for $15.8 million or go on

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